Joan Rivers’ latest national TV interview ended in another mid-segment walk-off – but at least this one was in jest. Days after storming out of a frustrating interview with CNN, the comedy legend got a taste of her own diva medicine on Tuesday night’s episode of The Late Show With David Letterman, with the host exiting the stage in faux-disgust after Rivers cracked a joke about adult diapers.
The comedienne was on the show promoting her new book, Diary of a Mad Diva, but Letterman couldn’t resist bringing up Rivers’ CNN storm-off (which took place after she objected to interviewer Fredricka Whitfield’s “negative” questions). In the above clip, Rivers describes Whitfield as “very judgmental, very nasty, very opinionated, very negative,” before quipping, “It was like my wedding night, ya know?” She also denies accusations that the whole ordeal was a “publicity stunt to promote the book.”
But Rivers isn’t interested in dwelling on the past, so she awkwardly transitions into a joke about losing an endorsement deal for Depends. Letterman then calmly removes his jacket and walks off-stage, pretending to be grossed out by the joke, but Rivers proceeds by interviewing herself. “How’s your sex life, you old bitch?” she asks, before responding with a joke about vaginal dryness. When it becomes clear that Letterman is riding out the gag for the long-term, she even throws to commercial like an old late night pro.
Following her CNN interview (in which she defended herself for making controversial jokes and wearing fur on the cover of her book), Rivers issued a statement through her publicist to The Hollywood Reporter, clarifying that she has “never done PR ‘stunts.'”
“The CNN interviewer was a news reporter and not an entertainment reporter,” she wrote. “She did not seem to understand we were talking about a comedy book and not the transcripts from the Nuremberg Trial. Every question was an accusatory one designed to put me on the defensive. She seemed to miss the point that Diary of a Mad Diva is simply a very funny book, and as Winston Churchill said, if you can make one person laugh, even for a minute, it’s like giving them a little vacation.”